The Madman 瘋子
It was in the garden of a madhouse that I met a youth with a face pale and lovely and full of wonder.And I sat beside him upon the bench,and I said,”Why are you here?”
And he looked at me in astonishment,and he said,”It’s an unseemly question,yet I will answer you.My father would make of me a reproduction of himself,so also would my uncle.My mother would have me the image of her famous father,and my sister regards her seafaring husband as the perfect example for me to follow. My brother thinks I should be like him,a fine athlete.”
“And my teachers also,the doctor of philosophy,and the music master,and the logician,they too were determined,and each would have me bet a reflection of his own face in a mirror.”
“Therefore I came to the place.I find it more sane here,At least,I can be myself.”
Then of a sudden he turned to me and he said,”But tell me,were you also driven to this place by education and good counsel?”
And I answered,”No,I am a visitor.”
And he answered,”Oh,you are one of those who live in the madhouse on the other side of the wall.”
- Kahlil Gibran, “The Wanderer”
On Children 論孩子
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrows that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
- Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet"